Burnley beware: Charting how far former Premier League clubs have fallen after relegation

Last season, Oldham became the first former Premier League club to be relegated out of the Football League but how have the others fared?

Under Vincent Kompany, Burnley will line up a completely different side this season to the one that was relegated out of the Premier League on the final day of the 2021/22 campaign. More than ten players have departed Turf Moor, while Scott Twine is the most eyecatching of the seven arrivals.

A new manager and a large turnover of players could spark an immediate return to the Premier League. Or it could be a recipe for disaster. 

Here, Planet Sport takes a look at what has happened to the 30 former Premier League clubs who are currently playing at a lower level.

They are listed in the order of their lowest finish since relegation…


Low point - Well, technically 24th in Championship in 2003/04

Last season - N/A

Say what you want about the demise of some clubs on this list but none can really match that of the original Wimbledon Football Club.

Founder members of the Premier League and famously winners of the 1988 FA Cup, Wimbledon announced plans to relocate to Milton Keynes in 2001.

Some would claim they now exist as League One side MK Dons but others would point out most of their fans are now following the fortunes of AFC Wimbledon, the club that subsequently emerged in the London borough of Merton, who have just been relegated out of the third tier.

Whatever the view, it can only be hoped the fate of Wimbledon is not repeated by any Premier League club in the future.

Oldham Athletic

Boundary Park, Oldham Apr22

Low point - 23rd in League Two in 2021/22

Last season - 23rd in League Two (relegated)

Fifty clubs have played in the Premier League - and now one has been relegated out of the Football League.

Oldham dropped out of League Two in 2021/22, meaning Boundary Park will host National League games 30 years after staging Premier League ones.

The Latics will at least be remembered for one of the PL's greatest escapes - in the competition's inaugural season, Oldham needed to win their last three matches to stand a chance of survival. They did so, staying up on goal difference at the expense of Crystal Palace.

Bradford City

Mark Hughes

Low point - 18th in League Two in 2010/11 & 2011/12

Last season - 14th in League Two

One of three former Premier League clubs currently plying their trade in League Two.

They suffered three relegations in seven seasons, twice entering administration after leaving the top flight.

The Bantams seemed to be bouncing back and reached the League One play-offs in both 2016 and 2017. However, now they are struggling again in the fourth tier and, despite appointing former Wales boss Mark Hughes as manager, finished a lowly 14th in League Two last time out.


Low point - 16th in League Two in 2014/15

Last season - 10th in League One

Suffered the ignominy of the fastest fall from Premier League to League Two, leaving the top flight in 2010 and playing fourth-tier football in 2013.

With the club having changed hands several times prior to relegation from the Premier League, the period again highlighted the importance of stability with numerous further owners at the helm during their tumble down the tiers.

Even once fans finally gained control of the club, Pompey had to endure their lowest-ever league finish in 2014/15. However, the worst appears to be over with Portsmouth having been regular contenders for a place in the Championship in the last five seasons.

Swindon Town

Low point - 13th in League Two in 2018/19

Last season - 6th in League Two 

Swindon set an unwelcome record in their only Premier League season to date - conceding 100 goals in their 42 games in 1993/94.

Their slide down the leagues is perhaps not as surprising as some of the other names on this list but fans of the Robins will still expect better than mid-table League Two finishes.

Suffered an agonising penalty shootout defeat to Port Vale in their League Two play-off semi-final.


Ian Holloway

Low point - 7th in League Two in 2016/17

Last season - 16th in the Championship

Another member of the Premier League 'one season' club, finishing 19th under Ian Holloway in 2010/11, Blackpool are very much an example of what can happen once a club leaves the top flight.

Just six seasons later, the Tangerines had fallen all the way to the bottom tier of the Football League, a period during which fan unrest snowballed.

The controversial ownership of the Oyston family finally ended in 2019 and the club is now back in the Championship.

Coventry City

Coventry Building Society Arena

Low point - 6th in League Two in 2017/18

Last season - 12th in Championship

Founder members of the Premier League, the recent history of Coventry has been tumultuous.

It included one season in the bottom tier, while the Sky Blues were actually homeless for several years, forced into groundshares at Northampton and Birmingham.

They happily returned to Coventry this season and that added stability enabled them to secure their highest league finish in 16 years.

Bolton Wanderers

Low point - 3rd in League Two in 2020/21

Last season - 9th in League One

Like north-west neighbours Blackpool, Bolton are a club who tumbled from the top tier of English football to its fourth - almost going out of business in 2019 when they called off two matches and at one stage fielded a team of youth players.

However, a side who twice qualified for Europe via their Premier League position will hope they have now bottomed out.

Following back-to-back relegations, Wanderers won promotion from League Two at the first attempt and have just finished mid-table in League One.

Wigan Athletic

Low point - 20th in League One in 2020/21

Last season - 1st in League One

A football club in a rugby town, the Latics managed to reach the Premier League largely thanks to the money of owner Dave Whelan.

But as Premier League owners got richer, Wigan struggled to compete and leaving the top flight in 2013 proved the disaster many feared it would.

Having entered administration in 2020, Wigan almost fell into League Two last season but survived on the final day despite losing. They've bounced back last term, winning the League One title.


Low point - 19th in Division Two (third tier) in 2002/03

Last season - 24th in the Championship (relegated)

Barnsley remain Premier League one-season wonders, having competed in the competition in 1997/98. They conceded a league-high 82 goals in finishing 19th, five points shy of safety.

Were one of many clubs to fall into administration following the collapse of ITV Digital, who held the Football League TV rights. They subsequently only just avoided slipping into the fourth tier.

Sheffield Wednesday

Low point - 16th in Division Two (third tier) in 2003/04

Last season - 4th in League One

Wednesday finished seventh in the first two seasons of the Premier League but since dropping out have had to endure three spells in the third tier.

For a club of the Owls' size - they've averaged crowds of more than 20,000 virtually every season this century - that has been hard to endure.

Still, things look more positive following a strong campaign which saw Wednesday reach the play-offs, only to lose out to Sunderland in the semi-final.

Charlton Athletic

Low point - 13th in League One in 2010/11, 2016/17, 2021/22

Last season - 13th in League One

It's now 15 years since Charlton left the top flight and they've spent much of the ensuing period flitting between the Championship and League One - three times they've been relegated from the second tier and twice promoted from the third.

Ownership wranglings have dominated the club's recent history and left fans fearing a return to the Premier League is but a distant dream.

Ipswich Town

Low point - 11th in League One in 2019/20, 2021/22

Last season - 11th in League One

Twenty-one years ago, Ipswich finished fifth in the Premier League and qualified for Europe.

However, they were relegated the following season and have never returned.

They are arguably now at their lowest ebb since, finishing mid-table in League One - all a far cry from the days of winning the FA Cup and UEFA Cup under Bobby Robson.


Sunderland fans

Low point - 8th in League One in 2019/20

Last season - 5th in League One (promoted through play-offs)

You can argue all day about what constitutes a 'big club' but surely few can suggest there is any bigger currently playing outside the top two tiers of English football.

Sunderland are another example of how off-field mismanagement can result in hard times but clubs capable of pulling in more than 30,000 every week in the third tier certainly have the basic foundations for success.

They will hope last season's League One play-off success will be the catalyst for a much-sought-after return to the Premier League.

Nottingham Forest

Low point - 7th in League One in 2005/06

Last season - 3rd in Championship (promoted through play-offs)

Other clubs may have fallen deeper but Forest's drop down the league ladder has proved particularly notable.

They were European champions in 1980 (admittedly before the creation of the Premier League) and in 2005 they became the first former kings of Europe to play in the third tier of their domestic competition.

But things are very much looking up, with Forest spending big after their play-off final win over Huddersfield returned them to the Premier League.

Blackburn Rovers

Low point - 2nd in League One in 2017/18

Last season - 8th in the Championship

Rovers are the only former Premier League champions currently playing their football outside the top flight. They are also the club with more PL seasons under their belt than any other not currently in it.

However, they haven't played in the competition since leaving in 2012.

Spent one season in League One but bounced back at the first attempt.

Hull City

Low point - 1st in League One in 2020/21

Last season - 19th in Championship

Another club who will hope rock-bottom has already been hit.

The Tigers finished bottom of the Championship in 2019/20 but immediately won League One and have just played out a season of consolidation in the second tier.

Derby County

Liam Rosenior Derby

Low point - 22nd in Championship in 2021/22

Last season - 23rd in Championship (relegated)

Derby were famously relegated from the Premier League with an all-time low tally of 11 points in 2008 but since then they've played exclusively in the Championship.

Well, they had until this season when they will be in League One following several chaotic years which have brought administration, transfer embargoes and a number of potential takeovers.

Stability may now be achieved following their takeover from Clowes Developments and although Wayne Rooney has departed, interim boss Liam Rosenior has undertaken an impressive recruitment drive, with Conor Hourihane, James Chester, David McGoldrick and Nathaniel Mendez-Laing among the new arrivals.

Birmingham City

Low point - 21st in Championship in 2013/14

Last season - 20th in the Championship

The Blues were promoted to the Premier League on three occasions in the Noughties but they've not been back since relegation in 2011.

They have at least not fallen further - but only just. Four times they have headed into the final day still not safe but each time they have survived.

The closest they came to falling through the trapdoor was in 2013/14. Trailing 2-0 at Bolton with 12 minutes remaining, Birmingham looked down. But two late goals - the second from Paul Caddis deep into added time - saw them stay up on goal difference ahead of Doncaster.


Low point - 21st in Championship in 2021/22

Last season - 21st in Championship 

Since leaving the Premier League in 2013, Reading have largely struggled in the Championship.

Indeed, they only survived on the final day in 2018, eventually finishing 20th. They ended last season a place lower.

Their current predicament is perhaps more worrying given the financial problems the club has suffered - they had points deducted over their finances which at one point saw more than 200% of the club's revenue being spent on wages.

Huddersfield Town

Carlos Corberan

Low point - 20th in Championship in 2020/21

This season - 4th in Championship

The 2020/21 season - their second back in the Championship - saw Huddersfield struggle and they only just stayed up.

However, having stuck with boss Carlos Corberan, they were transformed last season, making the end-of-season play-offs only to lose out to Nottingham Forest in the final.

Will have Danny Schofield at the helm next term after Corberan departed in the close season.


Low point - 19th in Championship in 2018/19

Last season - 11th in Championship

In truth, Rangers haven't really come close to returning the Premier League since leaving it in 2015 but at least they are being run as a viable business.

Tony Fernandes chased the dream and lost during his early days as owner and the club were fined £42million for a breach of financial fair play rules. He insists such mistakes won't be repeated.

On the pitch, QPR looked better last season but after a strong start they faded badly, losing 11 of their last 17 games.

Cardiff City

Low point - 19th in Championship in 2021/22

Last season - 18th in Championship 

Relegated from the Premier League in 2019, Cardiff lost their parachute payments last season and that was reflected in their league position.

Having reached the play-offs in 2019/20 and just missed out on them the season after, the Bluebirds were very much a bottom-half side last term with Mick McCarthy paying with his job in the October.


Low point - 17th in Championship in 2019/20

Last season - 7th in Championship 

Boro have played in half of the Premier League's 30 seasons but not since 2017.

They've largely been up at the right end of the Championship since and headed into the final weekend of last season still hopeful of reaching the play-offs.

The days of Fabrizio Ravanelli and Juninho may be long gone but there's good reason to think better times are ahead for Boro.

Stoke City

Low point - 16th in Championship in 2018/19

Last season - 14th in Championship 

A run of 10 successive seasons in the Premier League ended in 2018 and Stoke haven't come close to returning.

In fact they are yet to finish in the top half of the Championship since falling into it.

Swansea City

Low point - 15th in Championship in 2021/22

Last season - 15th in Championship 

The Welsh side made the play-offs in two of their three seasons after leaving the Premier League but failed to reclaim their spot in it.

Last season, with parachute payments a thing of the past, they slipped into the bottom half despite a .

West Bromwich Albion

Low point - 10th in Championship in 2021/22

Last season - 10th in Championship 

Long seen as a 'yo-yo club', West Brom equalled the record of five Premier League relegations in 2020/21 (subsequently broken last term by Norwich).

Their bid for an immediate return was on course at the halfway stage of last season but a poor second half meant they will again be playing Championship football in 2022/23.


Bournemouth, Scott Parker

Low point - 6th in Championship in 2020/21

This season - 2nd in Championship (promoted)

Having only been relegated two years ago, Bournemouth are still in receipt of the Premier League's parachute payments - and they have made good use of them.

Having just missed out on an immediate return to the top flight, the Cherries secured promotion back to the top flight last season by finishing runners-up to Fulham.

Sheffield United

Low point - 5th in Championship in 2021/22

This season - 5th in Championship 

Relegated in 2020/21, the Blades recovered from a slow start to contest the end-of-season play-offs where they lost out to Nottingham Forest.

The semi-final defeat denied them a fourth spell in the Premier League.


Fulham champions

Low point - 1st in Championship in 2021/22

This season - 1st in Championship (promoted)

Relegated in 2020/21, Fulham bounced back at the first attempt, winning the Championship under the stewardship of Marco Silva.

Striker Aleksandar Mitrovic led the way with 43 goals, becoming the first man to hit 40 in the second tier in 29 years.

READ MORE: How the Premier League table would look if it was based on clubs’ Twitter followers

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